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Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeHealthSexually transmitted ringworm found in man who had affair with multiple men

Sexually transmitted ringworm found in man who had affair with multiple men

Health officials are warning about a new case of ringworm likely spread through sexual contact, reported in New York City—the first such case in the U.S.

Fox News reports that the infection, caused by a rare fungus called trichophyton mentagrophytes type VII (TMVII), was detected in a man in his 30s. He had engaged in sexual activity with multiple men during trips to England, Greece, and California, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology by doctors at NYU Langone Health.

The report noted that the man developed a red, itchy rash on his penis, legs, groin, and buttocks upon returning from his trip. The rash resembled eczema rather than the typical ringworm infection, which forms in circles.

Tests confirmed the presence of the fungus, and doctors prescribed standard antifungal oral medications. However, it took four and a half months for the infection to clear. The man initially took fluconazole for four weeks without improvement, then terbinafine for six weeks, and finally itraconazole for eight weeks.

Doctors found no other infections that could have worsened his condition. Dr. Avrom Caplan, an assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and author of the report, told NBC there is no need for public alarm. “There’s no evidence that this is widespread or that people need to be worried,” Caplan said. “But if people are experiencing itchy eruptions in the groin area that aren’t improving, they should see a doctor.”

John Zampella, co-author of the study, urged physicians to help identify the fungus. “Physicians need to directly ask patients about rashes around the groin and buttocks, especially those who are sexually active, have traveled recently, and report itchy areas elsewhere on the body,” Zampella said.

Fox News also reports that the man’s case is the first in the U.S., following 13 similar cases reported in France last year, with twelve of those patients being men who had sex with men. The man noted that none of his partners reported similar skin issues.

Caplan suggested that the infection was likely transmitted through sexual contact but could not rule out the possibility that the man contracted the fungus at a sauna he visited two months before his symptoms appeared.

The study indicates an increase in male genital fungi in India, consistent with the emergence of a slightly different ringworm form called trichophyton indotineae. Climate, hygiene, bathing practices, and sexual contact likely contribute to the spread of this fungus, which causes itchy and contagious rashes similar to TMVII and often resists terbinafine treatment.

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